What is a Shemagh Scarf?
Before we begin discussing how to use a shemagh scarf, it is a good idea to what it is. A shemagh scarf is actually not the original name of this type of head wrapping, in fact, it has many names; keffiyeh, kufiya, ghutrah, hattah, mashadah, chafiye, cemedani, or simply, shemagh. Although it has many different names, it is still composed of the same idea, a headdress or headscarf that can be worn atop the head, around the face, or as a scarf.
It is usually made with a 46-inch long cotton cloth that is wrapped around or folded in such a way as to protect a person's face from the wind and sun. There are different versions that are found in different areas, some are for protection and others as a social status indicator.
Where did it Originate?
The shemagh scarf originated in the middle east, with historical records that exist saying that it was used as far back as the years 632-700, around the rise of the Islamic empire. The real factor that has made it so popular in the area was due to the environment, in which there are long expanses of arid desert with little shade. Arguable this is the civilization that is responsible for making the best shemagh in the past.
Temperatures and wind wreck havoc on anyone without protective head gear, so many shepherds, and farmers would wear shemagh scarves to keep themselves cool and dry for long periods of time in the sun. It was also used by ancient warriors going off for conquest and war.
In the modern era, it is still very prominent in middle eastern culture, as many men wear a shemagh, and many women wear a slightly different version called a hijab. It is also still a part of military apparel as well, many British and middle eastern soldiers still wear these protective head wraps during missions and assignments.
What is a Shemagh Scarf made of?
A shemagh scarf is traditionally made out of woven wool and cotton mixture, cut and created from a 46-48 by 46-48-inch long piece of cloth. This is due to the quick drying nature and the ability for the material to allow for breathing. However, it is possible to use different type of materials with different sizes, however, it has been seen that the most effective material is a cotton and wool mix, for its properties and low price.
How to tie a Shemagh Scarf?
While it might seem complicated at a glance, tying the shemagh scarf is actually quite easy. Below is a quick guide on how to do so.
- Hold the shemagh scarf in front of you. Fold the shemagh in half, matching corner to corner. It should look like a triangle, with one long side and two short ones.
- Place the middle of the longest side of the triangular cloth to your forehead, be sure to have one side longer than the other
- Wrap the shorter point under your chin and hold it aginst whatever side of your face has the longer side, proceed to pull the longer side of the cloth across your face. This should cover your nose and mouth.
- The two ends of the cloth should meet right behind your ear, proceed to create a knot with these two points.
With that, provided that you have done it correctly, will leave you with a full face covering commonly known as a Shemagh. Leaving your eyes the only thing exposed. Perfect for any situation where you might be exposed to the elements for long periods of time.
What is a Shemagh Scarf used for?
The Shemagh scarf is used to keep the head and face both cool and protected from dust and wind. This face covering is made to be lightweight, easy to make and wear, and it has mutiple uses. For example, this type of covering can act as a pillow, rope, and even a weapon. It has also been used in the military going as far back as the rise of Islam, as a way to combat the weather conditions very prevalent in an arid desert.
The cultural significance of this item is also very intuitive, as in the past it was incredibly integrated into Muslim society. An example can be seen in certain patterns that are found on specific headdresses depending on the location. Such as those from Jordan, a country in which many people wear the white and red colored shemaghs to signify country pride.
A shemagh scarf is an absolute must-have in an emergency situation, with a number of uses rivaling a swiss army knife, this should be on everyone's BOB checklist. Though it might have some bad connotations, considering the state of the world at large, usefulness transcends figured notions on particular places and ideals, such is the modern civilization we call ourselves. The best quality shemagh is the one that can handle all kinds of environmental hazards.